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The French Foreign Legion

by Terrye

What I imagined it would be like.

“When I was younger I tried…”

…to run away and join the French Foreign Legion. It was my senior year in high school and I honestly had no freakin’ idea what I wanted to do when I graduated.

I had been offered a full scholarship to the University of Alaska, Sitka to study Marine Biology. But the idea of living on a small island in Alaska just didn’t seem to meet my idea of “fun” and “adventure.” My career counselor wanted me to put in for a four year scholarship to a journalism school in NYC. When she talked to the recruiter from the school they were very interested. But my dad, fearing I might get into a little bit of trouble in the big city, refused to sign the papers.

Because I was 17 and the deadline was before my 18th birthday, I couldn’t apply on my own. I was NOT happy. My dream was to become a journalist. Ok, it became my dream career only after my desire to become an archeologist was shot down horribly crushed when I was informed by my parents, “you wouldn’t make enough money to support yourself and you can’t live with us.” Way to preach “you can do anything you set your mind to,” oh beloved parents of mine! (May they rest in peace).

Well, it’s not like I could join the Rebellion!

Dad’s suggestion was for me to figure out a way to get a journalism degree locally. That was like telling a horse to figure out how to row a boat to China. I had no idea and when I asked my parents, they told me to work it out for myself. My counselor handed me a ream of paperwork and told me I had a week to get it mailed in. Not happening. I had things to do; like writing articles for the school paper, shooting on the school rifle team, leading my company into mayhem and mischief in ROTC, and lusting after military guys that I hung out with. Oh, let’s not forget; daydreaming about being kidnapped by stormtroopers and being rescued by Han Solo! I had a life!

This is probably closer to reality.

So, one day after school, I took the bus to the nearest Army Recruiter, thinking I’d just join the Army and become a war correspondent. That went over like a fart in church when that recruiter called my dad for his signature on my enlistment papers. Dad was really starting to foil my plans to run away and see the world!

As I was venting to my very good friend, Kyla, she suggested the French Foreign Legion. She had heard that they didn’t have an age limit. PERFECT! I was excited. I had a plan! All that I knew of the French Foreign Legion was what I saw in the movie “Laurence of Arabia” but I was ok with that. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t speak or understand French. Kyla assured me that it didn’t matter as nationality wasn’t a factor. Oh yeah, I was all over that! I couldn’t wait to march thru deserts on the other side of the world, so far away from the snow and cold of Alaska. And I’d be styling in those cool khakis, drinking homemade alcohol from my canteen, and living adventures of a lifetime that I’d write home about on postcards from all over the world.

Ain’t THAT the truth!

My dreams met a very sudden and painful death when I was informed by my ROTC instructor, 1SGT Gatlin, that the French Foreign Legion did not take women. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. I was devastated. Good bye really cool khakis. Adios moonshine. Sayonara awesome adventures. I was crushed. I sank into a deep pit of depression. All of my friends were heading off to college or backpacking their way across Europe. I was stuck in Alaska, alone.

So what did I do? The last thing everyone expected. I married a guy I barely knew that was leaving for the Navy. I was going to see the world after all. Or so I thought.

Life can be such a bitch!

A big thank you to Janine at “Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic” and Kate at “Can I Get Another Bottle Of Whine…” for hosting the wonderful “Finish The Sentence Friday” Blog Hop. If anyone is suffering from writer’s block or at a loss for something to write, feel free to join us (just click on the host’s links above).

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